McDaniels blistered Patriots offense for dry spell vs. Texans

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McDaniels blistered Patriots offense for dry spell vs. Texans

Early in the fourth quarter Monday night, after the Patriots scored to make it 35-7, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels got loud.

Even though the Patriots had just scored, McDaniels reamed his offense for missed assignments and avoidable errors that had been emerging since early in the second quarter.

When McDaniels was done, Tom Brady gave a "What he said..." amplifier to McDaniels' comments. After the dressing down, the Patriots had a 10-play, 68-yard touchdown drive (albeit against a checked-out Texans defense) to end their evening.

On Tuesday, McDaniels discussed the message he was sending.

"The big thing I was saying really has more to do with the things that we can control," said McDaniels. "I thought we had some unforced errors that we can prevent. When you're playing a good team, they're gonna make some plays and hopefully you're gonna make some plays, but the ones you need to prevent are the ones that have nothing to do with something that they did.

"We had a couple balls on the ground last night," McDaniels pointed out. "We had a couple drops. We had a couple of missed assignments in protection. For us to be able to go out there and execute against a good team and sustain that level, you've gotta first start with doing your job right. I think that was really all I was saying and trying to get us to finish the game there."

After scoring their third straight touchdown to open the game, the Patriots ran 23 plays on their next six drives. One of those was a five-play touchdown drive culminating in a third-down bomb to Donte' Stallworth. The other five drives gained 34 total yards and four of them were three-and-outs.

"We started off and played some really good football and did some good things and then we did have a few three-and-outs there right in a row consecutively which you never like to do because it puts the defense back out there quickly," McDaniels noted. "Credit goes to (the Texans), they did a lot of good things. They pressured us, they came after us and that was really a big point in the game and they made some plays in that stretch that forced us off the field."

Had the Texans offense been able to do anything against a New England defense that ruined their game plan, the game could have narrowed during that stretch. That, McDaniels seemed to be saying, was what he was concerned with. What happened is important. But what could have happened was as well.

"Before we even start dealing with scheme and blitzes and all that, let's just take care of our assignment and have that be the starting point for our offense," McDaniels said. "When you do that, you always give yourself a chance. Whenever you hit a lull, it's always good to come back and talk about doing your job right and I think that's what the message was when I was talking to them."

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.
 

Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

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Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report for Sunday's game with the Rams is out. While they'll be without one big name, but their others are still very much in play. 

Rob Gronkowski, who was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday, has been ruled out. Jordan Richards, who is dealing with a knee issue and has not practiced this week, will also be held out of action on Sunday. 

Tom Brady (knee), Julian Edelman (foot), Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder) and Chris Hogan (back) -- all of whom practiced on Friday -- have been listed as questionable for the Rams game at Gillette Stadium. Special teamer Nate Ebner (concussion) returned to practice on Friday and is also questionable, as is Trey Flowers (shin) and Elandon Roberts, who popped up on the injury report with a jaw issue Friday. 

Special teams captain Matthew Slater missed Friday's session after participating on both Wednesday and Thursday. He's been ruled as questionable. Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton is also questionable after missing his second straight day of practice with an illness.

If Slater and Ebner are at all limited this weekend, coupled with the loss of Richards, the Patriots kicking game would be significantly impacted. Hogan took reps as the team's personal protector on the punt team earlier this week and may fill that role should Ebner miss time.